Supreme court asks center to respond to plea for entry of women into mosques

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Highlights

  •  A bench led by CJI, asked the government to respond to the plea of entry of women into mosques by declaring their prohibition as illegal.
  • The petition has been filed by Yasmeen Zuber Ahmad and Zuber Ahmad. 
  • At present, women are allowed enter Jamaat-e-Islami and Mujaheedin denominations.

The bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, requested the government to respond to the petition filed by couple Zuber Ahmad and Yasmin Zuber Ahmad challenging the prohibition of entry of women into mosques. They said it is illegal, derogatory and unconstitutional. They requested the court to direct All India Muslim Personal Law Board and Central Waqf Council to allow the women to enter mosques.

In April, during the filing of the petition, the court stated that it was compelled to hear their plea in the background of the verdict on Sabrimala temple matter, in which Constitution Bench had made a declaration that ban on women of a certain age is unconstitutional and discriminatory.

“There should not be any gender discrimination, and allow Muslim women to offer prayers in all mosques, cutting across all denominations.  There is no discrimination to offer worship in Mecca- the holiest city of Islam. Both men and women together circle Kaaba,” the petition stated.

 Currently, women are allowed to offer prayers at mosques under Jamaat-e-Islami and Mujahid denominations. Women are prohibited to enter mosques by the Sunni community. Even if they are allowed separate entrances are allotted to men and women.

The petition argued that such a bar was “violative of Article 44 of the Indian Constitution which encourages the state to secure a Uniform Civil Code for all Indian Citizens by abrogating discrepancies between personal laws currently being followed.

In April, the court expressed doubts about whether such cases should be filed against people who pray and run the mosques. 

The fundamental right to equality mentioned in Article 14 is applicable to the state.  “Is mosque a ‘state’?  Is Church a ‘state’? Is temple a ‘state’?  We are not talking with reference to cement and mortar that are used in building the mosques but people offering prayers over there.   Can the fundamental right pf equality be imposed against another human being?” it asked.

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